Labeling & Labeling Requirements - AAFCO

Jump to I am trying to find a pet food nutrient calculator so I can find the total ..
Photo provided by Flickr
We looked at dry dog foods (both kibble and air-dried) for formulas based on the AAFCO guidelines that provide “complete and balanced” nutrition. Keep in mind that your dog will help determine your pet food choices, as well. In general, you’ll know your dog is responding well to a food if he or she gobbles it up, has a normal stool, and doesn’t display signs of allergies. (The latter can show up in the form of dry, itchy skin, and paws, in particular.)
These AAFCO nutrient profiles for dog foods presume an energy density of 3.5 kcal ME/g dry matter. Rations >4 kcal/g should be corrected for energy density.
Photo provided by Flickr
Dog food mixes are designed as a base to which you add fresh foods such as meat, eggs and dairy (yogurt, kefir, cottage cheese) in order to make a complete diet. While more expensive than a homemade diet, they provide similar nutritional advantages and make preparation easier, as well as helping to guarantee that all of your dogs nutritional needs are met (as long as the mix meets AAFCO guidelines). AAFCO approved dog foods
Photo provided by FlickrThe AAFCO Dog and Cat Food Nutrient Profiles and the AAFCO Feeding Protocols are the only methods recognized by AAFCO for substantiating the nutritional adequacy of
Photo provided by FlickrPrimal Pet Foods Canine Chicken Formula is formulated to meet the nutritional levels established by the AAFCO Dog Food Nutrient Profiles for All Life Stages.
Photo provided by Flickr
The label that the AAFCO bestows upon dog food bags usually states “Our pet foods are made following AAFCO guidelines and must pass stringent testing.” This label isn’t a complete lie; the dog food brand does have to go through testing to receive approval from the AAFCO. However, I would hardly deem the testing to be stringent. The test consists of a trial where a controlled group of healthy dogs above the year of one are to eat only the brand being tested for a period of sixth months. The brand will pass the test if none of the dogs lose more than fifteen percent of their body weight, experience severe health problems, or die. This criterion is hardly adequate to determine whether the dogs being tested are receiving a balanced diet that is sufficiently nourishing. The dog food brand simply passes for not causing severe medical complications or death after only a sixth month period.Most commercial dog food companies formulate their dog foods for puppy, adult, and senior/mature life stages based on AAFCO’s standards. I use AAFCO's and to go by, including for this list of best vet recommended dog foods. I think you should too.There are a wide variety of dog food brands that will provide your dog with an abundantly nutritious and healthy diet without the use of ingredients that, despite receiving approval from the AAFCO, should never be present in your dog’s diet. has a helpful list of their top ten best and worst dog foods. All of the best dog foods they list use deboned, fresh meats as a protein source rather than rendered products, are full of fresh fruits and vegetables, and are grain free. They also provide reasons as to why the top ten worst brands they list should be avoided, to include their use of rendered products, abundance of grains, and lack of fruits and vegetables. Take a look and find out which of their top ten best food brands suits your dog the best!Just so you can form your own opinion, here are the AAFCO requirements for their feeding trials, passing which is often used as a major point of advertising especially for low quality foods:There you have it - wouldn't you have expected much more stringent rules, like larger sample groups, a time frame that is longer than just 6 months (for a food your dog might well be eating his or her entire life?), less permissible weight loss for a food that is supposed to be a maintenance diet? 15% is a loss of 7.5 pounds in a 50 lb dog, and unless more than 25% of the test subjects drop out from malnutrition, in the eyes of the AAFCO there is no problem with the product. Feeding trials are also not conducted under conditions that even remotely emulate the environment of a family pet, as they are mostly conducted in kennels of research facilities. A dog who sits in a kennel run all day surely has different nutritional requirements than one who is included in much of it's owners activities and gets a moderate to high amount of exercise every day.